Here’s a bit of history for you:
- Search engines date back to 1990 when Archie provided internet users with an index to downloadable directory listings
- Yahoo was invented in January 1994, becoming the world’s first commercial search engine
- Google was launched in September 1998, becoming synonymous with popular culture search
Conventional wisdom says that search engine marketing is a mature category.
According to a McKinsey study, employees spent 1.8 hours per day researching and gathering information – more than 9 hours per week. Yet the average person spends less than 2 hours per week searching on Google. By my calculations, that’s 7 hours of search engine marketing opportunities.
As more and more of my life migrates to my home in the Hudson Valley, I find myself looking for things that I haven’t looked for in quite some time. Over the weekend, it became clear to me how many categories are still not client-centric in their research strategies and execution.
Health. Finding new healthcare professionals shouldn’t be as difficult as it is. There are multiple databases, some from insurers, others from hospital networks, and still others from rating services and referral networks. Some are public, others private. Some healthcare practices are setting up modern websites. All of them have different search filters and lists of results. 30 years after Archie, there is an opportunity for someone to aggregate this category of data.
Appliances. Generally speaking, it is not easy to find appliances for an old house like ours. With retail shopping options limited by the pandemic, it’s even more difficult to find and compare products. Some search engines make it easy to filter results once you know which model you need, but who honestly knows which model they need or wants to decode the product model architecture provided by most manufacturers. Home appliances can be purchased at the top end of the funnel when someone is preparing to buy an air conditioner, stove or refrigerator. One idea is to better label based on need, or what I really want is that I can just take a picture of my house and be shown some household appliances that might pass through its unusual windows and doors. . Someone should do a better visual search for devices.
Grocery stores. Here is another category that could use better search engine marketing. We cook more than ever now. I have a million food allergies. When I select a recipe, I want information on the local availability of ingredients or the availability of my favorite online grocery services. It doesn’t seem like a technologically complicated query, does it? Yet it hasn’t been around for 30 years in digital marketing.
Research expenses won’t tell you everything. My colleague Monique El Hassan told me eMarketer data that shows people spend almost an hour more with digital media each day than at the same time last year. eMarketer predicts a decline in search advertising, especially in many categories like travel and hospitality due to the coronavirus, after initially forecasting double-digit growth.
I’m sure there are a myriad of opportunities that I haven’t considered. These are just three that come to mind to fill those extra 7 hours spent looking for things to make our lives easier.